SHRM Certification: Look How Far Our Profession Has Come!



The best part of my travels is always the opportunity to meet HR professionals from around the globe.  With the advent of SHRM Certification, my travels have been even more interesting as I gather feedback from examinees and learn more about our exams every day.  Over the last few months, I’ve had the good fortune to meet numerous examinees many of whom shared one principal piece of feedback—the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams were hard but fair.  Whether from Yonkers or Kalamazoo or San Diego examinees shared this sentiment and provided useful feedback.  SHRM Certification is a critical step forward for the HR profession where core competencies sit at the heart of professional development.  Since its inception, the SHRM Competency Model was based on extensive research serving as the focal point for HR professionals As a SHRM researcher, I knew every painstaking detail that went into developing the model including gathering insights of more than 35,000 business professionals across the globe. 

As a certified professional, I recognized how these professionals looked at SHRM exams. But as I explained the shift to competency-based certification, I discussed the research (I know, YAWN!), the importance of assessing both knowledge and the ability to do, and the criticality of using a common universal framework of business competencies.  Little by little, people understood the reason for a shift even likening it to other testing programs like your written and road tests for a driver’s license.  The SHRM Competency Model became seemingly ubiquitous across the business community with large organizations adopting the new certifications.  The competency-based credentials (SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP) gained traction as people realized the shift made sense and was almost necessary given external criticisms of the profession.  As one colleague noted, “It all makes sense!  I get it now that I’ve been through the online pathway.”  As she described it, understanding how competencies play a role in success is the first step to continuous improvement.  The shift was in full effect and the HR world was accepting it.

Between May 1 and July 15, 2015 we received feedback across a variety of areas.  Some good like the feedback on the situational judgment items and some not so good like commentary on the length of the exams.  In all cases though, it was information we could use to make our program better and that made your feedback invaluable. 

As our first testing window closed, we immediately turned to scoring.  As a data nerd, this was what I thought would be my favorite part of the process.  As we analyzed data, I knew you, our examinees, waited patiently in most cases for your results.  Yes, there were a few folks here and there who picked up the phone hoping to circumvent the system and get their results immediately.  I even had one call where an examinee offered me a nice bottle of wine if I tipped them off.  Luckily, my drink of choice is single malt Scotch whisky.  Nonetheless, this reaffirmed what would actually be my favorite part of the entire process—the welcoming of new members to the most prestigious community of HR professionals in the world.  My favorite part was recognizing that we would soon have thousands more SHRM-CPs and SHRM-SCPs with roughly 69 and 53 percent passing each exam respectively. 

For some, the journey still entails sitting for the exam again.  We thank you for your continued commitment to the HR profession and encourage you to seek certification via the exams once again.

For most, the journey entails two key activities—1) CELEBRATING!!!! and 2) starting your work toward continual recertification.  I am happy to join you for the first of these because everyone knows I LOVE CAKE.  I am even more ecstatic to join you for recertification because this is where the real magic happens.  Recertification is the commitment to continuous learning and growth.  It represents your willingness to engage in professional development with the goal of maintaining proficiency in those competencies.  It is simply a sign of your desire to be the best HR professional you can be for a long time to come. 

Congratulations to our new SHRM-CPs and SHRM-SCPs and thank you all for your renewed commitment to this profession!  The journey is only a year old but look at how far we’ve come.



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